Vignette 1: Jung Recounts the Story of the Golden Scarab Beetle
“A young woman I was treating had, at a critical moment, a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. While she was telling me this dream, I sat with my back to the closed window. Suddenly I heard a noise behind me, like a gentle tapping. I turned round and saw a flying insect knocking against the window-pane from the outside. I opened the window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in. It was the nearest analogy to a golden scarab one finds in our latitudes, a scarabaeid beetle, the common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), which, contrary to its usual habits had evidently felt the urge to get into a dark room at this particular moment. I must admit that nothing like it ever happened to me before or since.”
I have honored the place of synchronicity in my life for a very long time. Five years ago my explanation of Carl Jung’s theory was met with incomprehension by a spiritual companion, so I gave her the example of Jung’s scarab beetle at the window. When I finished the story my companion reached into her bag and pulled out a photo of a beetle which she had taken the day before. “And here is your beetle,” she said.
Vignette 3: Yesterday’s Synchronicity
I began my writing session as I always do, with an invocation to Spirit, a request to show me the greatest good for myself and my blogging community. I came upon Mary Oliver’s poem, “Prayer” about casting the ashes of a beloved one upon the wild foam of waves. An hour after publication I heard from a friend I had not heard from for a while; a friend who had just cast precious ashes upon waves.
And the only thing I did was pay attention. We are profoundly connected. Listen.
I have honored the place of synchronicity in my life for a very long time. Five years ago my explanation of Carl Jung’s theory was met with incomprehension, so I gave my companion the example of Jung’s scarab beetle on the window sill. The beetle made a ruckus just as Jung’s client related her dream about a scarab bracelet. Jung brought the beetle to her and said, “Here is your beetle.” When I finished the story my companion reached into her bag and pulled out a photo of a beetle which she had taken the day before. “And here is your beetle,” she said.
Now, I thought this experience was a bit astounding…until Halloween week, the time of the Thin Veil. It was the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 28 when my bus took me past Washelli Cemetery, as it always does. Thirty minutes after I settled back into my apartment the phone rang. A telemarketer for Washelli Cemetery. My cremation is already paid for, thank you very much. I barely had time to recover and the phone rang again. A telemarketer from a different cemetery. Before this I had never received such calls.
Yesterday I learned that if my friend dies before I do, some inheritance will come to me. This person enjoys good health at this time, but I am momentarily unsettled and wary.
Coincidence? That would be a valid interpretation. I imagine that such phone solicitation is stepped up Halloween week (imagine having that job). But these synchronous events say something different to me. They say, “Pay attention.” That’s all. Let go of the panic to figure it all out and control it. Watch and wait. I begin my day with this prayer:
Divine Spirit moving through the universe,
I open myself to the possible connections you put before me today. I will pay attention and facilitate the connections as I am able. May it be so. Amen.
And the hits just keep on coming. You may enjoy this recent award-winning film, “What Is Synchronicity?”:
The soul knows what she wants, even if our ego is confused. She casts out invitations, and like stones cast on gentle water, they ripple out, and touch every aspect of our lives.
Images from the soul are spontaneous lights from the Godhead. The soul casts them out, and stepping into the light, she waits until we are conscious enough to see and respond. We can teach ourselves how to be aware of the invitations by fidelity to two spiritual practices. First, we can view synchronous events as invitations from our soul, and daily ask for the grace to pay attention to them. With practice, we can learn to focus intentionally on our surroundings and interactions with people, staying open to the possibilities they “throw out.” For example, one day I may have a dream about a one-time friend, in which he wrestles with strong emotions. The next day I stumble upon an article about grieving that touches on my recent experience of loss, and I think again of the dream and become concerned about my friend with no apparent cause; however, I resist the urge to shrug it off with, “Oh, it’s ‘just’ a coincidence.” I ask myself what images surround my friend when I think about him? What images surround me? What feelings do these experiences evoke about him and about me? I decide to inquire about his well-being from a mutual friend, and learn that his mother died at the same time as I lost a loved one. The synchronistic event becomes an invitation cast out to me, and if I respond to its light, I grow.
We can develop our imaginations by devoting time to creative expression. Time spent drawing, painting, writing, making music, dancing, etc., is liminal time…the space in between, in which the soul casts her sacred images. If we work 9-5 and surround ourselves with people and frantic activity 24-7, there is no time to create, and we will miss the light.
Writing this reflection has been a good examin for myself. May the soul’s images astound us.